Perspectives for Better Neurological Care

Dr. Adams
Dr. C. Robert Adams
Board Certified Neurologist
109 N. 15th St., Ste 14, Norfolk Ne. 68701 Phone: 402-371-0226
3900 Dakota Ave, South Sioux City, Ne. 68776 Toll Free: 888-516-2398
Brodstone Memorial Hospital, 520 E. 10th, Superior, Ne. 68978

Dealing with Tobacco

How to Deal with Tobacco:

Tobacco both smoking and chewless will kill you.

Even worse than that, the habit will make your life miserable. Lung cancer would almost not exist if it was not for the effects of smoking over long periods of time.

Even a larger threat is acceleration of hardening of the arteries and bringing about early strokes and heart attacks.

Smoking marked accelerates atherosclerosis, particularly in the setting of other risk factors, including familial diathesis, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and others.

Other unappreciated adverse effects of smoking are an insidious destruction of lung tissue. Chronic smoking brings about the progression of both bronchitis and emphysema. Some smokers that do not cough or wheeze are just losing their lung tissue and/or lungs are turning to sponge. Unfortunately, the destruction of lungs by smoking is not very “forgiving.” Lung tissue is gradually lost through a smoker’s long-term habit such that the lungs eventually give out and an individual has marked dyspnea upon exertion or even discomfort in just trying to get their breath at rest.

Smoking causes a slow destruction of lung tissue such that a person over a period of years will develop problems of fatigue, cough, breathlessness, and of course, the other above-mentioned side effects. Smoking exacerbates sinus congestion and inflammation or chronic sinusitis. It brings out problems of sleep apnea, exacerbating snoring and respiratory airway movement.

Smoking also causes marked peripheral vascular disease and shuts off or clamps off the blood flow to the extremities, accentuating coldness and limiting blood flow to the arms, legs, and other organs.

Raynaud’s phenomenon is caused by or markedly exacerbated by smoking. Even the “smell” of smoke on clothes is deleterious to children and other adults with respiratory problems, and it is a “crime” to expose those around a smoker to this insult.

“Smokeless” tobacco also causes a host of problems. It is much addicting than even cigarettes. Adverse personality change, depression, irritability, and anger outbursts are common in “chewers.” Mouth cancer from smokeless tobacco is, of course, extremely common as well as the more mundane problems of bad breath and gross spitting.

It is no wonder tobacco is addicting. It does stimulate “cocaine receptors” in the brain, although it has only very short-lived effects of stimulation as opposed to cocaine itself.

Important considerations in coping or dealing with tobacco include:

  1. It is just as important to cut down or taper down on a smoking or tobacco habit as it is to quit. Many individuals cannot quit or at least cannot quickly get away from a long-term, addicting habit. Therefore, tapering down and decreasing the amount of cigarettes and altering ones overall smoking habits is extremely helpful in getting started.
  2. Never smoke inside, and that includes the house but also the garage and most importantly vehicles. Vehicular smoking is often just a habit.
  3. Never smoke the entire cigarette. The end of the cigarette is the most dangerous.
  4. Always completely empty your lungs or completely exhale twice after smoking. Studies have been done with three pack-a-day smokers, and they could get just as much tar or nicotine in their systems when they cut down to two packs as with three, merely holding the smoke more in their lungs.
  5. It is always good to have a substitute in the mouth as with chewing gum, holding a toothpick, and sometimes more pleasantly with breath mints as with Altoids that stimulate the mouth. The latter often helps with regards to appetite.
  6. Any type of social support or encouragement by friends and relatives is important. On the other hand, individuals should always let their “smoking buddies” know that they are backing off, they are serious about dealing with their tobacco habit, and they want to get away from the adverse, long-term health effects.
  7. Associated problems such as anxiety, depression, and pain sometimes has to be dealt with other medications or treatments as smoking can become a “crutch” in these circumstances. That is still no excuse for using smoking as a crutch, however, as there are other ways to deal with the above mentioned issues.
  8. More specific drug treatment and tapering back on smoking can include a variety of different kinds of bupropion or Wellbutrin products, which actually replace the neurotransmitter effects of cigarettes in the brain and decrease the urge towards smoking. Chantix has also been useful as a short-term help in dealing with the smoking habit. However, neither of these medications will work, unless someone deals with the ongoing habit and follows the above-mentioned recommendations.
  9. Nicotine replacement as with patches or gum are not often helpful, simply replacing “poison with poison” or adding nicotine to an already troublesome nicotine habit.

In conclusion, your future with a tobacco habit is dismal, dreadful, and unhappy for you and those around you. It would be “stupid” to stand with your face over the smoke of a campfire. Similarly, it makes little sense to irritate mucus membranes of the nose, throat, voice box, and lungs with harmful, cancer-inducing gas and ash.

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